Replacing Lost Teeth With Dental Implants

Dr Mike Allen gives a dentist’s perspective of this increasingly popular solution.

Much has been written in the press, about the benefits of dental implant placement. Most of this has been positive, although there have also been a few negative reports as with any treatment. Often, these originate from when the implants were placed overseas at a less than experienced practice or where short cuts were taken.

From the point of view of a dentist, whilst implant placement is a sophisticated and exact procedure, it does offer the patient many benefits which alternatives, such as dentures, simply don’t.

Are implants for everyone?

Whilst we are able to place dental implants for almost any patient, it is worth considering a couple of cases where this may be more of a challenge, and where patients may wish to consider another option.

Lack of bone – If a tooth has been lost for a lengthy period of time, the bone that would previously have supported the tooth will almost certainly have been reabsorbed by the body, at least partially. As this would mean that there may be insufficient bone to hold an implant in place, this means that an implant cannot be used immediately. Fortunately we can build up the bone using bone augmentation techniques. This however, does add significantly to the total treatment time, as well as the cost. We will discuss this with you during your consultation at our Burton dental practice to allow you to make an informed choice which tooth replacement route you wish to take.

Nervous patients – The thought of a dentist inserting a titanium ‘screw’ into the jawbone can be too much for some nervous dental patients. The reality is that this should be no more uncomfortable than some other invasive procedures; but, as with most concerns of this nature, it is the thought, rather than the reality, that can be so overwhelming. We do believe that implants are the best option where possible though, and would encourage even nervous dental patients to talk to us about the procedure, rather than relying on sometimes incorrect media information.

A little about the procedure

Discussions about the procedure are best done on a face to face basis when you have your initial consultation at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice. For those of you who know very little about them though, this is a very brief description below:

A dental implant is a titanium screw like object which acts to replace the root of a tooth. This is placed into the patients jawbone and is then allowed to bond with it for a period of approximately 3 months. Once this time has passed, the implant will be firmly embedded and will not move at all. To this we add an abutment, and finally, a custom made crown will be attached to complete the replacement tooth.

All implant dentists at our Burton practice are fully trained, and, combined with the use of modern equipment, we are confident that patients will be happy with their new replacement tooth.

The advantages of dental implants

Having talked a little about the procedure itself, and other factors which may possibly deter some patients, we should look at the reason that so many patients are willing to undergo this longer procedure to have implants, rather than, say, the less invasive option of dentures.

The fact is that once the implant process has been completed, and perhaps after a week or so to allow for the feeling of a new object in your mouth to become normalised, most patients find that their implant looks, feels and acts almost exactly as a normal tooth. Osseointegration, the process whereby the implant and bone fuse very firmly together, means that even the stickiest and hardest foods can be managed. In fact, many patients tell us that they more or less forget that they have an implant and not a natural tooth. The same cannot be said of dentures.

Unlike dentures, which should be changed as the shape of your mouth changes, implants can last for life. We only use Straumann dental implants, which are of the highest quality, to ensure that patients get the longest life possible from them. Providing that you take good care in keeping them clean, your new replacement tooth should last you for a minimum of twenty years, with thirty and more not unheard of.

Patient satisfaction

At Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, we believe that you, the patient, should have the final say about your treatment, where options are available. This is the case with tooth replacement, where a choice of implants, dentures or a dental bridge can be provided. All of these have pros and cons of course, and, with more than thirty years experience behind us, we know that patients appreciate us being fully transparent so that they can make the final decision.

Understandably we will not pressure anyone into having a procedure they do not want. We will though, do our best to guide you towards the treatment that we feel will have the best long term outcome. Whichever treatment is chosen, we will also provide ongoing support to make sure that the restoration stays healthy and functional for as long as possible.

If you live in the Burton Upon Trent area and would like to discuss any dental issue with us, including teeth implants, we are always happy to do so. You will find our team to be friendly and well informed, helping you to make a decision about the best solution for you. To arrange an initial consultation at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice, please call us on 01283 845345.

Dentist Dr Mike Allen has practised in Burton for over 25 years (GDC 55931).